In his high fantasy novels, British author JRR Tolkien combined his university background in languages and his love of storytelling to create Middle-earth, a fictional continent populated by wizards, elves, orcs, dragons , hobbits, talking trees and other mythical creatures.
But Middle-earth didn’t just live in Tolkien’s head: the Lord of the Rings The author was also a talented artist who drew, painted and mapped the worlds he imagined while writing about them. Many original illustrations from Hobbit were created by Tolkien himself.
Audiences can now see a selection of rarely seen Tolkien films the Lord of the Rings works of art for free via the recently updated Tolkien Estate website, reports Sarah Cascone for Artnet. The portal, which debuted last month, also allows viewers to explore documents, images and audio clips related to Tolkien’s personal life and his lesser-known pursuits as a cartographer, calligrapher and artist.
According to an emailed statement, the site features 12 never-before-seen items, including Tolkien’s paintings of exotic flowers and birds, a manuscript draft of The return of Beorhtnoth Beorhthelm’s Son (1953) and photographs of the author and his family.
The website debuted on February 26, a date that might ring a bell with diehards. the Lord of the Rings fans: February 26, 3019 was the “date in the Third Age when the Fellowship of the Ring was shattered at Amon Hen and Frodo and Sam set out on their lonely and terrifying journey to Mordor,” according to the statement.
Born John Ronald Reuel Tolkien in 1892, the writer was orphaned at a young age. He fought in the trenches in World War I after graduating from Oxford University. He then returned to Oxford as a teacher, rose to prominence as a linguist, and published a translation of the epic poem into Old English. Beowulf. Elements of Beowulf, Tolkien’s Roman Catholic faith and his friendship with other British writers such as CS Lewis have all been cited as major influences on the the Lord of the Rings.
Many of Tolkien’s books began as stories for his four children: John, Michael, Christopher, and Priscilla. A devoted father, Tolkien drew elegant pictures for his children when they were young and wrote them frequent letters as adults. (These drawings and letters can be viewed on the new website.)
Christopher has created many maps for the the Lord of the Rings based on her father’s detailed plans, notes Harriet Sherwood for the Guardian. He served as Tolkien’s literary executor until his death in 2020. (Tolkien, for his part, died in 1973 at the age of 81.) The author’s youngest child and only daughter, Priscilla, died last month, on February 28, at the age of 92, according to a statement from the Tolkien Society, a charitable and literary society that operates independently of the Tolkien Estate.
Tolkien began work on the manuscript which became the Hobbit in the early 1930s. This book was so successful when it was published in 1937 that Tolkien’s publishers encouraged him to write more stories about hobbits, whom he describes as small, gentle people who live in underground holes.
These later tales became the the Lord of the Rings, which was published in three volumes between July 1954 and October 1955 and quickly became one of the most famous English-language fantasy series in modern history. More … than 150 million copies of the trilogy, which has been translated into dozens of languages, have been sold to date.
Those wishing to further explore Tolkien’s art can visit “Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth”, an online version of the 2018 exhibition on the maker’s art and life at Bodleian Libraries, Oxford. Over 100 Tolkien paintings and illustrations are also available to browse in JRR Tolkien: artist and illustrator, a 1995 catalog compiled by Tolkien scholars Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull.